By Sarah Carlson, Copy Editor
With the presidential election less than two weeks away, President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., are finalizing their campaigns and reiterating their stances on certain issues, Bush claiming experience and Kerry calling for a change. Here is a list of issues at the forefront of the election and where each candidate stands; it is compiled from cnn.com as well as each candidate’s campaign Web sites.
Health Care –
Bush – Favors improving current system over government-based system, allow citizens to own and control their own health care through health saving accounts, lower prescription drug costs.
Kerry – Wants government-based system funded by reversing tax cuts, lower family premiums on health care by up to $1,000 a year, lower prescription drug costs.
Social Security –
Bush – Supports allowing people to have the option to invest some Social Security taxes in stocks.
Kerry – Opposes privatizing Social Security.
Bush – Provide $500 million for jobs for the 21st century to help educate and train workers in schools and community colleges, maintaining minimum wage by increasing education.
Kerry – Tax cuts to businesses, increasing minimum wage to $7 over years.
War in Iraq –
Bush – Authorized war because of weapons of mass destruction based on CIA intelligence, now says it was worth it to oust Saddam Hussein regime.
Kerry – Supported the war based on CIA intelligence Congress voted on, later said Bush misled nation, voted no for $87 billion to fund operations.
War on Terror –
Bush -Favors strong action against terrorists.
Kerry – Favors strong action against terrorists.
International Policy –
Bush – Initially opposed U.N. involvement in reconstruction of Iraq, wants a more unilateral policy, saying U.S. security should not be left to other nations; more than $1 billion proposed for reconstruction of Afghanistan; “Road Map” plan for peace process in Middle East.
Kerry – Involve other nations more in reconstruction of Iraq for a more multilateral policy working with the U.N. and NATO; boost international efforts to secure peace in Afghanistan, beat al Qaeda; improve social, economic, political conditions in Middle East.
Osama bin Laden –
Bush – Said in March 2002 he’s not concerned about bin Laden orchestrating an attack because he is in hiding.
Kerry – Bin Laden is the priority, would have made him so over Hussein.
Bush – Opposes except in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman’s life.
Kerry – Supports a woman’s right to an abortion; planning resources.
Gay Marriage –
Bush – Backs constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Kerry – Against same-sex marriage, backs benefits and rights for same-sex couples.
Gay adoption –
Bush – Opposes gay adoptions.
Kerry – Supports adoption by gay men, women.
Gays in the military –
Bush – Supports the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Kerry – Favors allowing gay men, women to serve openly in the military.
Stem Cell Research –
Bush – Opposes, but allowed limited funding from government for research on already existing lines of stem cells.
Kerry – Supports.
Hate crime legislation –
Bush – Opposes expanding federal law to cover sexual orientation.
Kerry – Expand federal legislation to include sexual orientation.
Death Penalty –
Bush – Supports.
Kerry – Opposes.
Patriot Act –
Bush – Supports.
Kerry – Backs letting act expire without congressional approval.
Tax Cuts –
Bush – Signed two tax-cut bills during term, probably more for middle class, working to make his tax cuts permanent.
Kerry – Repeal tax cuts for people making more than $200,000 a year enacted during Bush presidency; cuts for middle class; increase child tax credit.
Bush – Strengthen Head Start programs, promote literacy, provide $250 million annually to extend state assessment of student math and reading skills.
Kerry – Establish National Education Trust Fund to ensure schools get funding they need, back No Child Left Behind; “School’s Open ‘Til Six” program offering after-school opportunities for 3.5 million children; fully refundable College Opportunity Tax Credit on up to $4,000 on each year’s tuition.
Gun Control –
Bush – Protect gun makers from lawsuits, let ban on semiautomatic assault weapons expire.
Kerry – Close gun show loophole; require child safety locks, didn’t want ban on semiautomatic weapons to expire.
Bush – Clear Skies Initiative to reduce power plant emissions, caps on emissions of Mercury, Farm Bill Conservation programs, favors opening Arctic refuge for gas and oil exploration, develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells for alternative fuel.
Kerry – Opposes oil exploration in Arctic refuge, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, push hybrid cars and hydrogen fuels.
Information compiled from www.cnn.com, www.johnkerry.com, www.georgewbush.com.
Information compiled by Sarah Carlson, Copy Editor